My approach is somewhat like oriental painting. Reality is approached literally, but interpreted by the artist's "calligraphy", that is, his technical use of materials, his brush work and technique.  I would also add the "serendipity" of the medium itself becomes a part of the work.  Thus the original vision, the technique, and the effects of the medium itself, combine to produce a work that is a combination of all of them.  In a photo, everything is in sharp focus, while in actuality, when we are looking at something, the only things that are sharp are the elements in the center of our focus., The rest is filled in by our mind, and my work often reflects this.  Economy is one of my important aesthetic principles and something I admire and aspire to master.  The more one looks at reality, the more you realize that there is no way to paint it all.  You can zero in on a single plant for instance, and as you do, realize that there is more to the plant than you can ever put down. You have to decide how much you are going to try to include.  So, you have to decide what are the "essential" elements, the parts of the composition that are central to what "grabs you" about it. The places that inspire me to paint  somehow reflect the presence of the truth, of God, in the shapes and arrangements. This becomes a central element for me in the composition.  So, how to convey the essential of the place, without losing the important elements while dropping the unimportant ones, (and eliminating anything that detracts from the essential elements)  really make the painting an "abstraction" in the truest sense. The painting conveys the "sense of place" and the visual experience of the landscape,  but would never be confused with a photograph.   Drawing is at the center of the painting, as I would also include  the absolute importance of the authenticity of the lines and shapes.